Pioneer bread

Pioneer bread

This family recipe from Spokane, Wash., appears in the book “America’s Best Lost Recipes: 121 Kitchen-Tested Heirloom Recipes Too Good to Forget” (America’s Test Kitchen). Serve with melted butter or cream cheese.


3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried dates, chopped


  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans.

  2. Whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Beat the egg in a medium bowl, then stir in the buttermilk and corn syrup. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined (a few streaks of flour should remain), then stir in the walnuts, raisins and dates until just incorporated.

  3. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared loaf pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely, at least 45 minutes. Serve.
    The bread will keep at room temperature wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 4 days. The bread also can be wrapped in two layers of aluminum foil and frozen for up to 2 months.

Servings: 2 loaves

Notes from the Test Kitchen: This bread fills the bill for everything from morning toast to an afternoon snack. An equal amount of pecans can be substituted for the walnuts.